Washington: Police shot down a young man after he opened fire at them in the US state of Missouri during protests to mark the first death anniversary of black teenager Michael Brown who was killed by a white police officer last year, media reports said on Monday.
St. Louis county Police Chief Jon Belmar said the man was in a critical and unstable condition, and undergoing surgery at a hospital in Ferguson, USA Today reported.
A St. Louis county officer was involved in a shooting after coming under heavy gunfire, said St. Louis County police on its official Twitter account.
Earlier, Belmar said the shooting occurred after undercover detectives monitored an individual in the crowd who they believed was armed and had three or four possible armed acquaintances.
A shootout also broke out between two groups and the suspect ran away. He was then spotted by police detectives in an unmarked vehicle, which began driving towards them with the emergency lights activated. The police detectives fired at the vehicle, hitting it a number of times.
The police detectives then left the vehicle and exchanged gunfire with the man, and the suspect was shot at multiple times, the police chief added.
At least two unmarked police cars were shot at, officials said.
Brown’s commemoration began on Sunday in front of the Canfield Green apartment complex, where he was killed, and was followed by a largely peaceful march through the West Florissant Avenue, the epicentre of protests last year that followed Brown’s death.
At the end of the march, led by Brown’s father Michael Brown Sr., the protestors released two doves.
Peaceful vigils marked the observance of Brown’s death anniversary. Attendees observed four-and-half minutes of silence — the length of time Brown’s body lay on the street after he was shot.
Subsequently, however, demonstrators blocked several streets and clashed with the police.
It was during this time that gunshots were heard, according to various media reports.
White police officer Darren Wilson killed 18-year-old African-American Michael Brown on August 9, 2014 under disputed circumstances, an incident that led to weeks of unrest.
On November 24, a grand jury decided against indicting Wilson in Brown’s death, setting off further unrest in the Missouri city.
In another case, no charges were levelled against the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner, another African-American, who died in July 2014 after the officer put him in a choke-hold.
The two cases triggered widespread protests throughout the country and forced the US government to place racial discrimination by police on top of its agenda.
From its earliest days, women’s soccer didn’t get much respect from sport organizers.
Take the first World Cup in 1991, which wasn’t even called the “Women’s World Cup.” Sponsored by Mars Inc., the candy empire, the event was branded the “1st FIFA World Championship for Women’s Football for the M&Ms Cup.”
“They weren’t paid. They got $10 per diem a day. They were wearing hand-me-down uniforms. They weren’t staying in the best hotel rooms,” says Eileen Narcotta-Welp, an assistant professor of sport management at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. “They were literally eating Snickers and Pepsi to kind of fuel them through the 1991 game.”
The U.S. women won that tournament.
Today, female soccer players get paid, but not enough, according to a lawsuit the U.S. women’s national soccer team (USWNT) filed against U.S. Soccer, their employer, alleging, “institutionalized gender discrimination.”
The United States Soccer Federation (USSF), also commonly referred to as U.S. Soccer, is the official governing body of the sport of soccer in the United States.
The lawsuit alleges that female players each earn a maximum of $99,000 for a season, while the men make an average of $263,320.
In the 28 years since that first World Cup win, the U.S. women’s team has been wildly successful, taking home four Women’s World Cups in all, including the 2019 title captured on Sunday in a 2-0 victory over The Netherlands, four Olympic gold medals, and eight CONCACAF Gold Cups.
The U.S. men haven’t fared as well, failing even to qualify for the most recent men’s World Cup in 2018. In fact, throughout the tournament’s 89-year history, the U.S. men have never earned a World Cup.
And yet, despite a lackluster record, the U.S. men are paid significantly more than the women.
For example, there was a $730,000 gender pay gap in 2019 U.S. World Cup bonuses, according to The Guardian.
The world champion women’s team members — who were honored Wednesday in a ticker-tape parade in New York City — will earn a maximum of $260,869 each after winning the World Cup and going on a victory tour. But if the U.S. men had accomplished the same feat, each of them would have earned more than $1.1 million.
Each member of the U.S. women’s national team earned $90,000 in bonuses for reaching the quarterfinals. But if they’d been eligible for the same bonuses as the U.S. men, they’d have raked in $550,000.
Total prize money for all teams involved in the 2018 men’s World Cup added up to $400 million, while the women’s prize money total for 2019 is $30 million.
In a court filing in response to the lawsuit, U.S. Soccer argued that the difference in pay between the men and women players is “based on differences in aggregate revenue generated by the different teams and/or any other factor other than sex.”
The compensation issue was on the minds of fans in the crowd at Wednesday’s parade salute to the women’s championship team.
“They’re doing the same hustle,” says Jaida Brown, a spectator. “They’re out there in the media and they’re inspiring people, and that’s what I feel like it’s all about, so they definitely should get equal pay as a man.”
“The whole team has been very powerful, and it’s just really empowered me,” says Yvonne Duck, another who turned out for the parade. “As a woman, I really feel strongly that they should be paid equally. It’s so unfair.”
David Gibbs attended the parade with his two daughters, including a 9-year-old who plays soccer. He coaches her team, in addition to coaching in the recreational soccer league he plays in.
“The whole issue of them getting equal pay is something that they do in the workplace,” Gibbs says. “Why not in the sports arena, as well?”
Since winning the World Cup in 2015, the U.S. women’s soccer games have earned more revenue than the men, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reported that the women generated $50.8 million in revenue between 2016 and 2018, while the men brought in $49.9 million.
The women’s earning power also extends to merchandise. Nike says the U.S. women’s soccer jersey is the top-selling soccer jersey, men’s or women’s, ever to be sold on Nike.com in one season.
Not only are the women paid less, but U.S. Soccer has used their success to try to jump-start interest in men’s soccer. In 1999, in the run-up to the Women’s World Cup, U.S. Soccer scheduled men’s games right before the women’s matches in hopes of drawing more attention to the men.
“They did this kind of combination package to get people to watch the men’s game because they knew that people were going to come and watch the women,” says Narcotta-Welp. “I think that the USSF has consistently used the women as a way to propel the men’s team into visibility — financial visibility, spectatorship visibility,” she says.
But no matter how well the U.S. women perform for the masculine-oriented FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, it’s all still about the men’s game. According to Narcotta-Welp, FIFA won’t take U.S. Soccer seriously until it fields a formidable men’s team that can compete on the international stage.
“You don’t see FIFA pressuring other federations to invest more in the women’s soccer game,” she says. “They probably look at the United States and say, ‘Well, you’re riding high. You’re tough. You don’t need to do as much because your women’s game is already there.’”
After the U.S. women secured their second consecutive World Cup victory in Lyon, France, last Sunday, fans in the grandstands chanted, “Equal pay, equal pay.”
The U.S. women’s team filed their lawsuit against U.S. Soccer in March, but agreed to focus on the World Cup first and then begin mediation on the issue of equal pay after the conclusion of the tournament.
For Narcotta-Welp, the general solution is simple, especially considering what the U.S. women’s soccer team has done for the sport.
“The women’s team in all of its iterations, literally has brought the game of soccer not only into conversations within American households, but this team is also the first to successfully market and sell soccer to a naive and seemingly indifferent American sports market,” she says. “At this moment, they are cultural icons and should be paid as such.” (VOA)